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Old 29th July 2008, 02:30 AM   #5
Dream Team - School Guru
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 2,177

Hi Roly,
Sounds like you are more than halfway there.

Here's your questions "pasted in". I'll work on each one seperately.
1- Do you need to be in the harness before you go for the front strap?

I'd say in most cases it's advantageous to hook in just before you go for the front footstrap, but it depends on the conditions.
If you are really powered up, and getting planing is easy, you have plenty of power in the rig to get into the front footstrap (or not).
The reason you need to hook in in a more progressive "order" when you aren't fully powered is that there may not be enough power in the rig to support an adequate amount of your weight so you can "un weight" your front foot (at least as far as the board is concerned).
If (as you seem to have experienced in the past) you go into the front footstrap too early and you are not hooked in, the instant you place any weight on that front foot the board immediately "rounds up". (It's doing precisely what your weight placement is telling it to do). Any weight out near the upwind rail "tips" the upwind rail down and the board turns upwind.
So, it's usually advantageous to hook in, then go for the front footstrap, then worry about the rear foot, but you can just as well go into the front strap first as hooking in and getting into the front footstrap happen almost at the same time.
You will (with a bit more experience) develop your own sequence and rythym to get into the front strap.
Unless you are super powered up to overpowered and need for some reason to get into the back footstrap first (many who sail in windy areas on small sails do it this way) getting your weight onto the rig, then getting your front foot in the footstrap is usually the easiest as the rig takes most of your weight, so your front foot is practically "weightless" when you slide it into the strap.
During this "evolution" your weight is concentrated on your back leg with your arch right over the boards fore/aft centerline and with your rear foot somewhat forward of the rear footstraps. Just where (fore and aft) depends on your sailor weight, the width of the board, how much of the sailor weight is being transferred to the rig, and the rate at which the board is accelerating. All these "little things" are factors, and if you get any one of them out of balance by stepping too far back too soon, the nose pops up and the board slows down and decelerates.
So, as I've said so many times here before, it's a "progression" and it depends on a bunch of factors:
1/ How powered up you are.
2/ How well the board is accelerating.
3/ The rate at which you are moving back on the board.
4/ Keeping your weight over the centerline so the board goes straight ahead and you present the most level and largest planing surface to keep the board accelerating.

2- Do you really need to be planing or close to it to get in the straps? I see people getting into the straps really early but when I try I sink the back of the board.

The folks you see getting into the footstraps early are probably on larger sails so they can put more of their weight on the rig , turning the weight and power of the rig into "mast foot pressure' to push the board and continue it's acceleration.
If you do not have the speed (and sufficient power in your rig) for the planing surfaces of your board to support the combined weight (remember that when you "hook in" the place where the power is applied moves forward to the mast foot) then your board is going to stop accelerating, the nose will "pop up" and your planing surfaces will have a very "nose up" mistrim which creates a lot of extra drag and stops your acceleration.
So, if you are moving back, placing your weight on your back foot over the centerline correctly, and the nose pops up and you slow down, then you are out of synch with the "progression". (I.E. you have moved back too quickly and/or placed too much weight too far back for the planing surfaces to support.
So, don't move back so quickly nor so far.
You will soon develop a "feel" for good board acceleration onto a plane so you will know how quickly to move back to keep the board acceleratiing right up onto a plane.
Again, part of this is sheeting the rig in more slowly and not raking it back so quickly as well.
Sheet in too much and you stall your sail, and the board stops accelerating.
Rake the rig back too soon and you take away it's "low end grunt" power and the board again stops accelerating.
The sailors you are seeing that just seem to "pop back on the board and onto a plane" are usually doing all of the above steps, in a perfectly timed and balanced "sequence" that looks quick and easy, but I can assure you it didn't happen that way the first time they tried it, and if they get it a little out of sequence/progression they will have the same issues you are having.
Keeping the board accelerating is the absolute key here.
Everything else happens as a result of increasing board speed.

3- I manage to get in the front strap by hooking in then bearing away while leaning back opposing the rig. This takes the weight off my front foot so I can slide it in. I used to luff up, but this seems to have cured that. It is then that I have real difficulty. I cannot get into the right position to get my foot in the back strap. It all gets a bit "slappy" and out of control. I find it hard to turn and open my shoulders ,thus locking in as I have been told , with the harness on. It seems a bit weird twisting like this. I think I am meant to get the rig back and my body weight forward to get the weight off the back foot allowing movement, but I just luff up and lose control.

It sounds like you are in far too much of a hurry.
Getting your back foot on the centerline and placed correctly to promote max acceleration is the key here.
Practice sailing around, hooked in, with your front foot waving around over the front footstrap (in marginal conditions please) until you can easily "steer" your board and increase it's speed using only the back leg and the rig.
When you can do this, then put your foot into the front footstrap, (but do not put any weight on it, keep your weight on the harness lines and rig), and sail around some more.
In this slightly more forward position, you board should plane pretty easily, but won't accelerate up to full speed because your rig is still pretty open and hasn't been fully raked back.
I cannot stress enough that you need to keep your rig standing up and opened up so it develops maximum power to pull you onto a plane.
If you sheet in or rake back too muxh/too soon, the power goes away and you either need to ease the sheeting angle quickly (but maybe not by much) and unrake the rig a little to get it pwoered back up, or sheet all the way out, step back forward, and start the whole process over.

4- I am quite short(5' 6")and wonder if this changes the angles slightly. They seem a hell of a long way back to me! I have one setting slightly more forward but keep forgetting my philips screwdriver to alter the straps

Just to confirm that the more forward/inboard positions don't get you much (and actually give you less control of the fin and less ability to get your body weight well out board and away from the rig) try moving your footstrap forward and inboard.
It might help as a "transition" until you are fully ready for footstraps all the way back and outboard.
Wish you had some photos of you trying to get planing and getting hooked in and back in the straps.
I can pretty well assure you that what you think you are doing (foot placement, stance,]
speed you are moving back, etc.) and what you are actually doing are quite different.
Then you would be able to see for yourself where you are putting your feet, your weight,
and all the other little things that make getting hooked in and into the footstrap become easy.
What is your normal windspeed and what size rig do you normally use.
What is your weight, what fin are you using, and what brand/model sail
are you using.
There are some things that can be done to get the whole "equation" more in balance and
make getting into the straps alot easier.
Hope this helps,

Last edited by Roger; 29th July 2008 at 07:34 AM.
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